Newfoundland's Grand Banks Message Board

I need to know about the fish!
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Author:  amaddaleni [ Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:42 pm ]
Post subject:  I need to know about the fish!

Hi there-

So I know absolutely nothing about the fishing industry of the 18th and 19th centuries (or of our current century, for that matter...) and when you're trying to research your family that is made up entirely of fishermen, that presents some challenges

I just have a couple specific questions that I'd love to know the answers to if anyone is willing to help a girl out!

1. I know what a Planter is, but is there a significant difference between a planter from, say, 1782 and 1889? The evolution of the word is tripping me up a bit.

2. A couple of my ancestors are said to have been "owners" or "masters" of various vessels (brigs, brigantines, schooners, etc.). What exactly does this mean? For these ancestors of mine, is there a way to look up these vessels or was it more of an unregistered sort of thing? I've found mercantile navy records, all with the same ship names listed...but those are part of large, commercial fishing ventures and I assume that's something different? But I could be totally wrong too...

As you can see, I'm more than a bit lost. Any bit of info would be wonderful...and feel free to share more than I need, if you have the time and desire.


Author:  GWTaylor [ Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I need to know about the fish!

Did you try the Dictionary of Newfoundland English? It gives many examples of the use of the term "planter", with dates. This might help you understand the evolution of the word.
Also provides a definition of "master" which could be helpful.

Dictionary of Newfoundland English, Edited by G.M. Story et al., published by University of Toronto Press. I have the 2nd ed., 1990.

Graham Taylor

Author:  Carol58110 [ Fri May 29, 2020 1:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: I need to know about the fish!


MUN has a listing of vessels and their captains from 1820 to 1889, follow this link and search alphabetically.

Happy hunting,

Author:  Tony [ Sat Sep 04, 2021 10:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: I need to know about the fish!

Although the research was undertaken in the 20th century, this paper should give the reader some insight into "making fish".


Link: ... view/17703

"Hard Racket for a Living" — Making Light-Salted Fish on the East Coast of Newfoundland by Mark Ferguson

This paper describes drying fish, the final phase in the processing of cod in the Newfoundland salt fisheries. Three themes regarding this work emerge: its remarkable labour intensiveness; the complex techniques and knowledge required; and the key roles women played in "making fish." Fishing people's evaluations of this work indicate seemingly contradictory positions: one typifies it and its way of life as sheer thankless toil, the other recalls these with satisfaction, even pleasure. I highlight the latter, neglected view and so begin the project of re-evaluating received academic/bureaucratic interpretations of the salt fisheries and the women and men who worked in them.

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